TOWN bosses have vowed plans for a new cycle lane in Colchester will have “as little as possible” impact on the environment.

It had been claimed four mature trees and about 30 shrubs could be destroyed later this year when Essex County Council constructs a cycle lane at the junction of Balkerne Hill and Crouch Street.

The project, near the Maldon Road roundabout, comes as part of the first phase of County Hall’s active travel plan, which is estimated to cost more than £7 million across Essex.

The works will see a cycle lane built and is forecasted to cost £3 million.

The herring-bone spaces in Crouch Street West will also be removed for the installation of the lane, while the pedestrian underpass is set to be filled in.

Read more: Good riddance! Troublesome cycle lane is finally removed from town centre

Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell fears it could mean a number of trees and flower beds are lost.

He said: “Essex County Council says it has a green agenda, but its rhetoric is not matched by the reality of its actions.

They have already destroyed what I believe was the first green wall in Essex on the retaining wall on Balkerne Hill. This is now exposed as an unattractive blank wall.

“Traders in Crouch Street, for whom many the loss of parking spaces will adversely affect them, have not been consulted.”

But Stuart Johnson, chairman of Colchester Cycling Campaign, says the group welcomes the cycling route proposals.

Gazette: Cycling route - Stuart Johnson, leftCycling route - Stuart Johnson, left

He said: “The proposal will improve safety and convenience for cyclists and provide better and safer facilities for pedestrians, while allowing space for an improved public realm with more space for seating and planting.

“The plans were put to a public consultation in 2021 and were strongly supported by Colchester residents.”

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “This cycle path project, which will be a substantial scheme, is in the early planning stage and the exact route of the cycle path has yet to be mapped in detail.

“Any county council cycle path is always planned to impact the local environment as little as possible.”